Importing or exporting hoodia products
Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii) is a succulent plant species native to desert regions in southern Africa. Purported to have natural appetite suppressing qualities, hoodia is widely promoted and traded as a weight loss ingredient. Hoodia products are often promoted and traded via the internet and other media outlets.
Hoodia has been included in the CITES Appendix II list in response to the decline in its wild populations from unregulated international trade.
Unfortunately, many Australians have purchased hoodia products from overseas vendors, only to have their order seized by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service because the correct CITES permits did not accompany the shipment. The products they have paid for are seized and often destroyed.
By purchasing hoodia and bringing it into Australia without a valid CITES import permit, Australian consumers are unwittingly breaching our international wildlife trade laws.
You will need an import permit to legally import hoodia products for commercial use.
As hoodia products come from a declared specimen, if the import is for commercial purposes the hoodia must have been artificially propagated or harvested as part of an approved commercial import program. However, there are currently no approved commercial import programs for hoodia, so commercial import is currently not permitted.
Personal use—carrying hoodia as personal baggage
You will not need an import permit if:
- non–live specimens are being imported in accompanied baggage for personal purposes and
- a permit to export has been issued by the CITES management authority of the country of export.
Personal use—Buying hoodia over the Internet
If you purchase hoodia or hoodia products over the internet, you will need an export permit from the exporting country's CITES management authority before making an application for an Australian import permit.
If a product containing hoodia is sent to you from overseas, and is not accompanied by the proper permits, it may be seized by Customs and you could face severe penalties (up to 10 years imprisonment and $100,000 fine).
You will need a re–export permit to export specimens that have been legally imported into Australia. The permit will be subject to any conditions legally imposed at the time of import.
Customs and quarantine
Exports and imports of wildlife and wildlife products may also be subject to regulation under the Customs Act 1901 (administered by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service ) and the Quarantine Act 1908 (administered by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service ).
- How to export or import hoodia products
- List of CITES management authorities overseas
- Seized items and caution notices
- For more information about CITES contact:
Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: (02) 6274 1900
Facsimile: (02) 6274 1921
Export and import guides
- How to export and import CITES plants and animals
- CITES specimens as personal effects
- Butterfly specimens
- Complementary medicines
- Elephant products
- Hunting trophies
- Online (Internet) shopping